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ENPARD Stakeholders Discussed Future Development of Local Action Groups in Georgia

FAO brought together the stakeholders and implementing partners of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) for the 16th ENPARD stakeholders’ meeting. The gathering aimed to share the updates within the EU supported agricultural and rural development projects, focusing on the current state and future development of Local Action Groups (LAGs) and implementing LEADER approach in the regions of Georgia.

ENPARD uses European approach to rural development – LAG/LEADER model. Fundamentally, it is the energy and resources of the local people that contribute to the rural development process by forming partnerships at a sub-regional level between the public, private and civil sectors. The LEADER approach is associated with local empowerment through local strategy development and resource allocation. The main tool for the application of the LEADER approach to area development and involving local representatives in decision-making is the Local Action Group (LAG).

Opening speech by Mr. Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture was followed by discussions within the group about the state of play of registration and legal status of LAGs, creation of the Georgian Association of LAGs (GALAG) and Georgian Rural Development Network (GRDN). Special attention was paid to the new initiative introduced by CENN concerning the development of a manual on rural development for LAG members.

The Programme Managers of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Alvaro Aparicio Ortega and Cristina Casella briefed the audience on the status of the implementation of ENPARD phase II and phase III.

The meeting was concluded with the updates of the representatives of the ENPARD implementing partner organizations. FAO, UNDP, Mercy Corps, Care, PIN, RDFG, HEKS-EPER, GIPA, CENN, Caritas Czech Republic and others updated the audience on the progress within their projects.

The meeting was also attended by other donor organizations that also briefed on their activities in support to Georgia’s agriculture and rural sectors.